Tuesday Jul 24, 2007

WSRP v2 public review

The OASIS Web Services for Remote Portlets TC has recently approved Web Services for Remote Portlets Specification v2.0 as a Committee Draft and is available for public review. The public review starts from 24 July 2007, and ends 22 September 2007.

The specification document and related files are available here.

Schema/WSDL files are available here:

Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Tech Article on Web Services for Remote Portlets




A technical article is now available in BigAdmin on administering Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) for Sun Java System Portal Server 7.1 written by Sunil Bhaskaran. You can also find this information in a WSRP chapter in the Sun Java System Portal Server Administration Guide.

Another technical article by Rajesh Thiagarajan and Marina Sum, in a four part series titled Open-Source Portal Initiative, "describes the WSRP Project's system and deployment architectures, its build and deployment processes, and the procedure for creating remote portlet windows."

Monday Jul 09, 2007

Industry Spotlight: Portlets Yahoo! Group

Click here to join portlets
Click to join portlets

If you are a portlet developer and/or user (or for that matter, in the business of building and/or using the infrastructure that serves as the runtime environment for portlets and more, i.e. portal servers) and are not aware of the Portlets Group at Yahoo!, you should consider checking it out.

The description on the group site states "This group is created with the objective of discussing portlets and related technology, their usability and problems associated with them. Portlets related technologies, standardizations and specifications like JSR 168, Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP), and JSR 170 (JCR) are some of the discussion issues. Though there is no restrictions, you can discuss anything related to portlet..", as well as "..Popular open source and commercial portal servers can also be discussed here..".

The group was founded in November 2003 and today has an impressive membership roster of 5800+ individuals.

Thursday Jun 21, 2007

Syndicating Portlets to iGoogle

With the advent of portals such as iGoogle, Netvibes, and MS Live, syndication of gadgets/widgets/portlets has become quite the rage. Even enterprise portals such as Websphere and Weblogic have jumped on the bandwagon and now allow running iGoogle gadgets from within their portals. Similarly they also claim to support syndication of their JSR 168 portlets to other portals such as iGoogle.

With the Sun Portal Server we are not far behind. You can easily use a Google gadget portlet wrapper to run Google gadgets in your portal. More about it in a future post. I'll focus on syndication in this post.

Of course we support WSRP that allows syndication of portlets between two WSRP-compliant portals. But portals such as iGoogle and Netvibes don't comply with standards such as JSR 168 or WSRP. They have their own mechanisms for doing things. But no reason to worry. Sun Portal Server by design provides a REST-like interface (please note the usage of "-like" to avoid any confusion) to access the portal components. This interface can be used to create a quick and dirty script to achieve syndication of portlets from the Sun Portal Server to iGoogle or another portal.

Here's a screenshot of the Developer sample of the Sun Portal as it looks in anonymous user mode. Now look at this screenshot of iGoogle with the same portlets running within iGoogle. This was done with a DHTML/Javascript/Ajax combination and is very easy to do. There are however limitations to this approach. The script does not support portlets with multiple page views, and also does not support editing of portlet preferences from iGoogle. There are better ways to achieve syndication and overcome these limitations. I'll cover those in a future post.

Because of the above mentioned limitations I'm reluctant to post the script I used on this blog. But if you are interested then leave a comment or ping me at jai dot suri at sun. I'll send you the script and information about how to use it. 

Thursday Jun 07, 2007

SPEAK OUT! Portlets and Web Services

When bringing an application into a portal, when is a Web service better than an old-school portlet? That's not a rhetorical question  - what do you think?

 The answer will probably vary, based on the type of application you want to expose. My work has been primarily with commercial ISV's (Citrix, Elluminate, Documentum, etc.), maintaining our Core Portal Ecosystem. Originally, every portlet project was 100% custom. Most ISV's had decent API's, but it was still a lot of manual work (not to mention constant business negotiations, measurement, etc.). The rapid adoption of the Java Portlet Specification (JSR 168) standard helped (by providing a container, consistent authentication mechanisms, etc.), as did WSRP's enabling of Web service consumption. Better still, many ISV's began publishing and supporting portlet sets of their own, taking over about 80% of the portlet development work.  However, even with these advances, code to support portal-specific features (e.g. single sign on and, in our portal's case, Secure Remote Access) was still done largely by hand.

This Google spellcheck portlet is actually a Web service.

This Google spellcheck portlet started with a Web Service. To learn how to build this yourself, visit the tutorial

Clearly, Web services are the future for commercial ISV portlets. Some are already phasing out portlets in favor of publishing Web services (Interwoven and Business Objects come to mind). SIDE NOTE: I've been advocating the creation of a core series of reusable infrastructure services (e.g. a single sign-on service, a secure remote access service) to glom\* together with the ISV services as our model for supporting commercial portlets going forward. Some of our gifted engineers are validating the concept as we  speak. What's your take? 

Also, almost half of the proposed features in the upcoming Portlet Specification 2.0 address WSRP alignment. So where does that leave the portlet as we once knew it? Is it strictly to be used for obscure, one-off tasks or ...?

Which method do you prefer in which circumstances? Please share your ideas and experiences.

Kim Buck


PS - If you're interested in portals, you're probably interested in SOA. For a glimpse into Sun's SOA ISV community, feel free to visit my SOA Solar System blog. Most of the content is business oriented vs. technical, but it's a good place to learn about  how SOA vendors - from established platform players to innovative startups - are shaking up that space.


\*glom - to mash, to moosh, to adjoin with reckless abandon (trademark pending) ; )

Tuesday Jun 05, 2007

Portlet Coordination made easy via NetBeans Portal Pack

Coordination remains one of the most talked about topics with respect to portlets. And one of the popular means of enabling portlet coordination is via the event model.

CoordinationThe Eventing (also referred to as Inter-Portlet Communication) feature in the Sun Java System Portal Server as well as the decoupled Portlet Container component built out of the OpenPortal community now has tools support in the form of an IPC Story Board feature in the NetBeans Portal Pack.

Check out Satya's blog entry introducing this feature, and especially the screencast that illustrates usage via a sample Shopping Cart application.  

Also note that the upcoming new versions of the Portal Standards, Portlet 2.0 (JSR286) and WSRP 2.0, will provide support for  portlet coordination through more than one mechanism including events. Support for those will also similarly make it's way into the Portal Pack.

Tuesday May 29, 2007

Article on the OpenPortal WSRP Project

Rajesh and Marina have written an article titled "Open Source Portal Initiative, Part4: Web Services for Remote Portlets". This article provides complete information on download/build/deployment of the WSRP project at java.net. The WSRP Project is a part of Sun's overall OpenPortal initiative.

The other articles in this series are :

Thursday May 03, 2007

Document : WSRP Technical Note

A new technical document on WSRP is now available, this technical note addresses primarily the WSRP functionality and configuration available in Portal Server 7.1 releases. It  also provides step-by-step instructions for configuring each of the WSRP feature available in Sun Java System Portal Server release.

Here is the link to the technical note available on docs.sun.com. A pdf version is also available for download

Monday Apr 30, 2007

Portlet Container and WSRP stable binaries now available

The latest stable nightly binaries of the Portlet Container and WSRP projects are now available, These binaries are tested against each other for any integration issues.

This Portlet Container stable binary fixes integration issues over the milestone 1 release to support WSRP.  So if your intent  is to use WSRP functionality over the Portlet Container, it is recommended you download this binary rather than the milestone 1 binary.

For more information please refer to the download page. This page also has links to the install and user guides for the respective projects.

Tuesday Feb 27, 2007

Portal Project binaries now available

The binaries for some of the sub-projects comprising the Portal Project (the ones that were missing binaries) are now available for download. This addresses some of the concerns that users have had, especially having to deal with development tools like subversion, maven, etc when the objective was to get the project artifacts up and running for evaluation and so on.

Here are links to the list of binaries that are currently available for download. Please refer to the respective sub-project pages for install instructions.

1. Portlet Container


3. Portlet Repository

4. JSF Portlet Bridge

Wednesday Feb 14, 2007

Develop, test and deploy JSR168 & WSRP portlets

Patrice has put together his experience with deploying the WSRP and Portlet Container Open Source Projects. Here is the link to his blog entry.

The goal behind these tests is to be able to demonstrate a complete development environment for building JES Portal 7.x portlets using these open source components for a large CU in France.


Thursday Feb 01, 2007

Portal Community Wiki

The enterprise-class Portal open source project is a community of Users, Developers, Partners, and Evangelists creating an industry leading enterprise-class Portal. This community is part of a collection of Open Source Middleware Communities.

The Portal Wiki is a valuable informational resource addressing the requirements of this broad Portal Community. The wiki is open for reading to all. Contributors to existing or new wiki topics need to have a registered user id.

The Portal Wiki is hosted in the following URL
Here are the links to Wiki of each Portal Component

Wednesday Dec 06, 2006

WSRP milestone 1 preview available

milestone1 Aligned with the announcement on WSRP milestone build 1, the milestone 1 "preview" is available. This preview delivers a installable WSRP components that allows users to try out the planned features of milestone 1. As the project stabilizes we plan to tag the codebase as milestone 1 build by end of December. The milestone 1 build tries to deliver a implementation that consists of
  1. WSRP Producer    -  Allows creation of multiple producers.
  2. WSRP Consumer   - Deliver a Container API implementation  that can be used by any aggregators
  3. WSRP Test Driver  - Use the above WSRP Consumer Container API and deliver a test driver based on portlet container test driver
  4. WSRP Admin Portlets - Provide an user interface for the WSRP Mbeans.
  5. WSRP Mbeans with sample admin server - Export WSRP administrative interface as Mbeans and provide a sample Mbean server.

The WSRP functionality is built over the  Portlet Container Open Source Project.

You can get the Install and User guide for this preview build which is available at the project site.  If you have questions on how to use the WSRP Project and other comments/suggestions/requests, we urge you to join the Project mailing alias.

Screencast and other materials would be available soon.


Tuesday Aug 29, 2006

WSRP Project live on java.net

The Enterprise-class Portal open source project on java.net has added the next piece to it's assembly of components -- an Enterprise class implementation of the OASIS WSRP v1.0 specification.  This is derived from the what is available today in the Sun Java System Portal Server 7.

So with that, here's introducing the WSRP.dev.java.net project.

For more information and background, check out blog entries from Rajesh, Manish and Karthik.

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Friday Aug 04, 2006

Early Draft of JSR286 (Portlet 2.0 Spec) Available

Wesley reports that an Early Draft of the Portlet 2.0 Specification has been made available by the JSR286 EG.  As he states, this is indeed great news for all the Java Portal/Portlet vendors. Version 2.0 of both the Portlet and Remote Portlet (WSRP; more on this in a subsequent post) Standards will go a long way in further expanding the Portlet ecosystem in the marketplace.

Check out his blog for more details.

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